Listening to Erasure’s I Say I Say I Say is akin to being miniaturized and inserted into an Atari video game filled with magical forests and enchanted castles. The opening song “Take Me Back” ebbs and breaks like an electronic sea of soundwaves while the theatrical “So the Story Goes” soars with the aide of the Choir of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The track’s lyrics brim with the kind of innocence and idealism that would sound damn near ridiculous if the music and production weren’t as equally enchanting: “What a lovely world/Waxing lyrical/See the lies unfold/Hear the miracle.” Singer Andy Bell explores lower voice registers throughout the album; inventive and ornate overdubs pad songs like the sci-fi/techno dance number “Run to the Sun” and the radiant “All Through the Years.” The lyrics of these songs hint at the darker tones Bell and partner Vince Clarke would explore more fully on 1995’s Erasure. While the duo’s self-titled follow-up was arguably their creative (albeit hitless) zenith, nothing can match the relentless melodies and sorcery of I Say, their gayest, most unabashedly precious album. Erasure’s charm is that their shameless brand of tarty pop music (the kind that’s so often ridiculed) is so honest. Not to mention, they’re the godfathers of synth-driven pop and hardly anyone does it better.
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